Save The Children & Child Poverty in the UK.

Thanks to the Unique way the BBC is funded, Save the Children got a free advert courtesy of BBC R4’s thought for the day this morning. Akhandadhi Das contrasted Save the Children’s first ever campaign about poverty in the UK with the charitable status of independent schools, explicitly suggesting the “need of independent schools to fill their places” was less worthy than Save the Children stepping way outside its remit and embarking on a party-political crusade. Let’s leave aside the left-wing obsession with private schools, and deal directly with Thought for the day acting as a party-political broadcast for the Labour party.

Child poverty in the UK is NOT caused by a lack of resources. Every child has access to the NHS, free education and the parent receives £20.30 per week for the first child and £13.40 for each subsequent one in child benefit, no questions asked. If there is no job in the household, the family will be housed at public expense, and they will be eligible for income support, a benefit rarely mentioned by welfare campaigners because it’s calculated as “the difference between the claimant’s net weekly income and the amount required to meet his or her needs”. Worklessness in the UK does NOT result in kids starving, or being unclothed, or not being able to get to school, or even being homeless, unless there is contributory negligence by the child’s parents. Yes, it’s true those kids are unlikely to have access to the latest fashions, and may not be able to afford every school trip, but the poverty is only relative to others whose parents work.
Work, of course is the route out of poverty. The state cannot and should not simply give the poor money, as this creates a moral hazard. Unfortunately, in taking up low-paid work many poor people face the loss of benefits and face a marginal effective tax rate over 100%, mainly thanks to Gordon Brown’s working & child tax-credit system. Furthermore, the Benefits system with it’s 72 separate bureaucracies makes reclaiming benefits should a job be lost an absurdly onerous process resulting in a massive disincentive to take on the low-paid, insecure “starter” job. And the low-skilled are, of course, banned from ever selling their labour at their real marginal rate of production, thanks to the Minimum wage, and will therefore never get any job and hope of improving their skills .When you factor in the cost of travel and things like work-clothes and sustenance, it simply doesn’t pay to try to get off benefits.
This is the poverty trap, Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre For Social Justice has identified and is seeking to remedy, in part through a universal credit, simplifying the benefits system.
This has not prevented the left from blaming child poverty on “the cuts”, and describing Iain Duncan Smith as a monster, intent on putting a boot on the face of the poor. Every change to the benefits system has been opposed tooth and nail by the unions, who will lose valuable jobs in the bureaucracy, and by the Labour stay-behind OPs in the Quangocracy for whom “poverty” is a meal-ticket. Poverty is being openly blamed on a recession caused by Government policy, and on “the cuts”. This simply isn’t true. Most child poverty in the UK is in the 20% or so of households where no-one works. Many of these are Multi-Generational welfare families, who are absolutely immune from the business cycle. This is also the reason it’s very hard to see correlation in crime numbers with the business cycle.
Save the Children is not an impartial organisation. It is run by a former Blair and Brown number 10 staffer, Justin Forsyth, and Brendan Cox, Director of Policy and Advocacy was a SpAd to Gordon Brown. Amongst the Trustees are a number of Labour quangocrats, including a director of “Labour’s greatest success”, SureStart, Naomi Eisenstadt. The Coalition are not convinced SureStart is worth the money. This campaign, the first by Save the Children concerning poverty in the UK – they werre silent during the winter of discontent, or during the massive rise in youth unemployment under Blair and Brown, is aimed squarely at the coalition government by a nakedly partisan, left-wing organisation.
It is Save the Children who should have its charitable status revoked, not Eton.
7 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Why should a "charitable school" reclaim income tax on "donations", effectively funded by income tax and VAT levied on everyone?

    Great that the priviledged elite want to pay for their kids education, by why should I subsidise them?

    Treat them as companies and tax their profits like any other business. Remove the tax deduction subsidy and see where the free market lands.

  2. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    Anon. "the elite" pay school fees out of taxed income AND pay taxes on their incomes to pay for schools they don't use. The charitable status of schools is justified by education being an a-priori benefit to the public and the fact they offer generous bursaries to the disadvantaged. Over 20% of students at Eton (who have, I understand sponsored a free-school in South London too) are on such bursaries.

    Like all lefties, you think in Moral, not practical terms, and dismiss your oponents as wicked and self-interested without considering beyond your own prejudices.

    Chopski. I was and am being deliberately provocative. Check out the strapline: Moderate opinions, Immoderately put.

  3. Rosina Budhani
    Rosina Budhani says:

    Two important corrections by Save the Children

    1.This is Save the Children’s first public fundraising appeal for UK children. It is not the first time we have spoken up for children in the UK. We have done this from our founding days including successfully campaigning for free school meals in the 40s.

    2.Save the Children is never party political but we do believe it is our responsibility to speak out on behalf of children. This is an urgent issue for all political parties and one that must be addressed. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and no child should grow up without daily essentials such as a hot meal, a warm coat or shoes that fit

  4. Simon Jester
    Simon Jester says:


    "in taking up low-paid work many poor people face the loss of benefits and face a marginal effective tax rate over 100%, mainly thanks to Gordon Brown"

    The poverty trap had been around for a long time before the arrival of the last Labour government, although it's undeniable that Polyphemus made it worse. It's ironic to recall that Blair's appointment of Frank Field to "think the unthinkable" made some of us think he was serious about trying to resolve this problem.

    "the Labour stay-behind OPs in the Quangocracy"

    What does OP stand for?


    The rest of Jackart's post demonstrates StC's politically partisan bias in this campaign. Under UK law, charities are banned from politically partisan activity, so if you agree with the rest of Jackart's post then StC are breaking the law; consequently, they should have their charitable status withdrawn.


    "no child should grow up without daily essentials such as a hot meal, a warm coat or shoes that fit"

    Are you seriously trying to claim that (in the UK) parents on benefits can't afford this?

    "Save the Children is never party political"

    Yeah, right.

  5. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    "Stay behind OP" During the cold war, the war-role of the HAC was to dig into strategic points in west germany to man OPs which would be behind enemy lines when the 3rd shock army rolled over the North German Plain.

    This would allow deep-fire artillery to be directed onto enemy forming up areas. Disrupting the invasion so that it could be held up on the rhine or meuse or something.

    They were not expected to survive long.

    I liken Labour packing the branches of Government with place-men to these Guerrillas in the hills, disrupting the Government from its task.

  6. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    Rosina, I notice you're not commenting on the strong Labour bias of your board. Perhaps you should stop trying to embarass the Coalition and get on with feeding hungry kids in the Third World, rather than engaging in party-politics. Just sayin'


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